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Are the millions for roads really yours, Dr Cullen

John Key MP National Party Finance Spokesman

27 June 2005

Are the millions for roads really yours, Dr Cullen?

National Party Finance spokesman John Key says Michael Cullen should tell the public whether all of the half billion-dollar roading bribe he announced last week is really Labour's money to spend.

"National supports increased government spending on our roads. But the cash Dr Cullen committed last week is still in dispute.

"He's putting the taxpayer at considerable risk, and the next National Government may be forced to repay this money with interest. It's the BNZ debacle all over again," says Mr Key.

As much as $368 million of the $500 million is in dispute.

"The Finance Minister has clearly not thought about the longer term implications if the courts find in favour of the banks. What happens then, Dr Cullen?"

It's believed the Australian-owned banks have paid the money up front in a bid to avoid penalty payments if they lose their tax case with the IRD.

"Dr Cullen appears to be spending money that isn't the Labour Government's to spend. He must reveal all, so taxpayers can see what's really going on.

"When we're talking sums of this size surely Dr Cullen would have been wise to proceed with caution.

"Given the fact that Labour has bungled the Kyoto numbers, and has grossly under-estimated the cost of repairing the rail network, New Zealanders have every right to be worried about Dr Cullen's instincts," says Mr Key.

Ends

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